Ah, ’tis the season for love. Couples are getting engaged right and left, and it seems like everyone around me is in major wedding planning mode. I remember it well, because it was just a year ago that I was counting down to my own wedding.
Even though there are literally thousands of articles filled with cost-saving tips, I still get emails asking how I managed to plan a wedding without breaking the bank. So just for you, dear reader, I decided to compile a list of 7 ways I found to save money on my dream wedding.
These days, it’s SO hard not to get sucked up in the “Say yes to the dress” mentality. After we got engaged, I couldn’t wait to go dress shopping. But when I called around to a few local bridal stores, I found out that my max budget didn’t even come close to most of their starting points. Talk about depressing. But since I found out that information beforehand, I saved myself the heartache of falling in love with a dress I would never be able to afford. I considered buying a used dress online (which works out great for some people), but I really had no idea what style I wanted, and I didn’t want to miss out on the experience of trying dresses on in store. After doing a little digging, I was fortunate enough to find this bridal salon (which at the time was based in the owners home!) where I snagged my dress and veil for under $500.
I know some people might say I got lucky with such a reasonably priced dress, but I really think it can be done! What was key for me was not putting myself in a situation where I would be disappointed. I knew going into those higher end bridal salons and falling in love with an expensive dress would only result in tears. So I decided to not even step foot in one. And hey, it worked for me.
Also, don’t forget to consider your bridesmaids. I let mine choose their own dresses, and it worked out great! Some spent $10, some spent $100, but at the end of the day, everyone was able to choose both the style and the budget they were comfortable with.
There are TONS of ways to cut costs on invitations! Have a friend who is good at design? Enlist their help! Or if you’ve got a little time, try experimenting with invitation design yourself. You’d be surprised at what you can create (hell, I’ve even seen people make wedding invites on PicMonkey!), and how much money can be saved by printing through an online service. And if you’re leery of trying your hand at design, Etsy is a great resource for custom or template wedding invitations at reasonable prices.
In addition to having my best friend design our invites, another way we were able to save money on postage was by creating postcards for RSVPs, instead of the typical envelope size inserts. And some couples swear by online RSVPs. But whatever you decide on, just remember – at the end of the day, invitations just get chunked in the trash, so don’t spend too much energy worrying about them.
I loved that our venue was pretty enough that it didn’t need a TON of extra decorating, and that’s one of the reasons I chose it. I kept decorations super simple, and super cheap by spray painting old wine bottles, grabbing vases at my local Goodwill for less than a dollar a piece, and borrowing mismatched lace pieces from friends.
We were also able to save quite a bit by going the unconventional route for our cakes and toppers. We used a coupon at a local bakery for my cake, and bought sheet cakes at Costco (YUM) for the groom’s cake. Taylor found his “dream” topper on Ebay, and I snagged this Lisa Leonard topper for less than $25 with a coupon.
I’ve talked a little about Pinterest and wedding planning before, but I feel like it can’t be said enough. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration. But I found that the more time I spent online, the more I felt my wedding would never be good enough. So I got off of Pinterest. And I loved my wedding.
Skip the Florist
Obviously, if you have a very specific idea of what you want your flowers to look like, this won’t work for you. But luckily, I didn’t. I was going for light and airy and easy. I browsed Sam’s Club online and found hydrangeas and light pink roses for a great price, so I went ahead and ordered them. They arrived on my doorstep two days before the wedding, and all I did (with the help of a couple bridesmaids) was unwrap them, trim stems, and put them in water. We were able to assemble bouquets in about an hour, and then just threw the rest in vases for decor. There were no “arrangements” and there was no real method, but in the end it worked out just fine.
Rethink Rehearsal Dinner
When trying to plan for our wedding rehearsal, we knew dinner was going to be tricky. Since we were married on a Friday, our rehearsal was held on Thursday at 8pm. Which gave our wedding party plenty of time to get to the venue, but also limited our restaurant options for rehearsal dinner. So when Taylor’s parents offered to host it at their house, and I could not have been more relieved. Taylor’s dad cooked out, and everything just felt so laid back and cozy. No one was in a rush to make a reservation time or clear out of a restaurant, and the whole thing just felt so relaxed.
Be Smart About Booze
If at all possible, make your booze self-serve. Our venue was outside city limits, which meant we didn’t have to pay for security or bartender. That literally saved us thousands of dollars. Even though we had the option of doing a full bar for cheaper than most, we opted for just beer and wine. We purchased two buck chuck from Trader Joe’s and three kegs of beer and we were set. Originally I was worried that kegs might look and feel a little tacky, but Taylor and I are lucky to have such a chill group of friends who were way too busy dancing to notice the kegs in the corner.
Skip the Favors
I might get some flack on this one, but I think wedding favors are on the way out. Really. Rack your brain and think of a wedding you’ve been to recently. What were the wedding favors? Can you remember? I couldn’t. So we skipped them. Dinner and beer and one HUGE dance party felt like plenty.
Let it GO.
Your wedding is going to be great. Really, it is. I’m sure I’m not the first one to tell you that. So when the day finally comes, let all the worry and the wedding planning frenzy go, and enjoy the heck out of it.
What were some ways you found to save money on your dream wedding?